The new people manager

A universal corporate fact is that the people of an organisation are its most vital asset. And managing them is not only the role of the HR, but also CEO. Arshie Chevalwala profiles key human resource challenges faced at the CEO level

It is a know fact that the humane facet of an organisation is vital. So much so that, there is an entire function dedicated to meeting the challenges they develop and solutions they require. Despite that, the CEOs of organisations, even at their imperative stature, have to make sure to devote conscious time and effort to ensure their HR challenges have been met. D S Negi, chief executive officer, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre opines, “Attrition is one of the biggest issues facing the HR domain and being such a vital provocateur, the responsibility seeps up to even the top management level.” So, what are some of the people management challenges faced at the CEO level?
One of the most vital functions of the corporate arena is in fact the basic business function. Thiruvengadam P, leader, human capital advisory services, Deloitte, India is of the opinion that the way in which business growth and business cycles are managed effectively by proper HR interventions by the CEOs plays a vital role today. He says, “With the business cycles becoming shorter and changes in the economic conditions taking place every two to three years; this puts a lot of pressure on the ability of a business to respond effectively. This means the human function demands support with the right talent management initiatives. As a senior level executive, it is vital for him/her to make sure this process is carried out efficiently.”
Since today, the business environment is becoming more and more unpredictable; it becomes a challenge to control and create a systematic process and order. Debasis Chatterji, CEO, Netxcell Limited explains how, “The most prominent HR challenge faced by the CEO is sustaining and maintaining seamless coordination among vertical heads. The understanding of what is in the right direction for the company is most important. Sometimes, this becomes a challenge for the top management.”
The purpose of a conglomerate is to constantly seek vertical growth and progress; and while it does that, so do its employees. Madhukar Kamath, group CEO and managing director, DDB Mudra Group says, this is a challenge faced by CEOs too. He further explains, “A CEO needs to spend time with the HR function, pay attention to key employees by external monitoring and help them in creating clarity about their career progression.”
Kamal K. Sharma, managing director, Lupin Ltd concurs, “CEOs today need to manage the vices that arise due to the simple complications caused by human nature. Keeping the team closely knit and providing an essential platform for managing employee aspirations are vital.”
Today, every organisation fosters innovation. What CEOs need to do is sustain these innovative practices. Deodatta Kalyankar, head HR, Zicom Electronic Securities Systems Ltd explains, “The most important challenge for a CEO today is to attain the ‘profitable growth’ and in order to do that, a CEO needs to create an ‘environment of innovation’ in the organisation.”

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